Coyote reporting hotline set up for 'bite zone' area where 2-year-old was attacked in Dallas
DALLAS - The city of Dallas Animal Control said three aggressive coyotes have been killed since a 2-year-old boy was attacked on his porch.
Landon "Knox" Thomas is still recovering from the attack that critically injured him near White Rock Lake.
Thursday, the city talked about how its hoping to open a line of communication when it comes to coyote sightings.
Anyone who sees a coyote is asked to call 469-676-9813 or visit BeDallas90.org/coyotes.
The director of Dallas Animal Services said she recognizes more needs to be done to combat the coyote problem and help residents feel safe.
Establishing a coyote reporting hotline is one step.
The USDA has been brought in to help implement a short-term plan. A long-term solution is in the works too.
A so-called "bite zone" has now been established, with a half-mile radius around the Lake Highlands home where a 2-year-old boy was viciously attacked on the porch by a coyote Tuesday.
"Short-term, we're obviously looking for aggressive active coyotes in that bite zone," USDA urban biologist Adam Henry said.
Henry said, so far, three aggressive coyotes have been killed within that bite zone.
It’s unclear if any of those coyotes is the one that attacked the toddler, whose dad said is recovering from head and neck lacerations.
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"There is state protocol of what needs to be done as far as testing for diseases like rabies," Henry said.
In response to a growing number of sightings in the area and complaints from residents, the city of Dallas decided to set up a coyote reporting hotline separate from 311.
"We realize we need to do better and we will do better," Dallas Animal Services Director MeLissa Webber said.
"The most important piece of information they can leave is a way to contact them so we can ask them any detailed questions what we may need to know," said Ann Barnes, with Dallas Animal Services.
RELATED: Coyote shot and killed in area where Dallas 2-year-old was attacked; boy expected to recover
The short-term goal is to weed out the aggressive coyotes.
Urban biologists don't know the population size in the area, but say it doesn't matter. The aggressive behavior is what's concerning.
Coyotes are here to stay.
Residents in the neighborhood near the White Rock Creek Greenbelt are being asked to do their part and not to leave any type of food source outside.
"Leaving your trash out where they can get a hold of it, feeding an outdoor cat, that's usually a big one for us," Dallas urban biologist Bret Johnson said. "If you have a bird feeder that’s overflowing, you're feeding rodents. If you're feeding rodents, you're attacking coyotes."
The long-term plan will have to be developed by the city, dealing with coyote sighting on a case-by-case basis.
For now, experts say it’s about being aware.
"If a coyote is near you and you wave your arms and look big and it refuses to back down, that's being bold," Johnson said.
The USDA is asking that residents do not try and kill the coyotes themselves.
The Dallas Police Department is reminding people that discharging a firearm within the city limits is illegal.